We believe it is important to offer our patients the opportunity to benefit from participation in ‘cutting edge’ health research. We have been involved in research for over 20 years and have a dedicated and enthusiastic research team.

As a research active practice we routinely screen electronic patient records to identify those who may be eligible to participate in research. A member of the research team may contact you if this is the case

We work as part of a group of primary care research teams called the Cornwall Clinical Research Group. We are proud winners of the ‘Embedding Research Culture Award 2019’ and have been shortlisted for the ‘Research Practice Award 2020’.


Over 20,000 patients take part in health research in the South West of England each year. Many patients hear about the opportunity to participate in research through their GP and are recruited by their local practice.

There are rigorous processes in place, including a review by an NHS Research Ethics Committee, to protect the rights, dignity, safety and wellbeing of participants.

For more information about these standards and how patient information is used in research, please visit For further information regarding how your NHS data may be used for research and planning, please visit

Why do we do research?

  • Research study participants say benefits of taking part include:
  • Learning more about their health condition and how best to manage it
  • Feeling empowered
  • Access to the very latest treatments
  • Feeling good knowing helping others even if not going to necessarily reap the benefits directly themselves
  • Satisfaction of contributing to medical advances
  • Reassured health care professionals are doing their best for their patients
  • Reassured by closer monitoring of their health condition
  • Research can give hope to people with rare or difficult to treat illnesses

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are research studies which look at new treatments or approaches to the prevention or diagnosis of health conditions to confirm whether they are safe and effective.

Clinical trials are carried out in carefully planned phases, allowing researchers to answer specific research questions to provide reliable information in the best interests of participants.

Clinical trials are an important part of the process that the NHS goes through in making decisions about which approaches to prevent, diagnose or treat conditions should be made available to the public.

Actively recruiting studies at Oak Tree and Pensilva


  • The ‘PRINCIPLE trial’ – trial of a medication to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone 65yrs or older OR 50-64yrs with current medical condition/s may be eligible. Participants will be tested for the virus using a self-swab kit. For more information please contact our research team. To read the participant information leaflet for this study, please visit
  • Respiratory virus surveillance – project monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses including influenza. If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection you may be contacted and invited to participate. You will be provided with a self-swab kit to use at home and you will receive the test results.
  • Antibody surveillance – project monitoring background immunity to COVID-19 in the UK population. You may be contacted prior to a routine blood appointment to discuss this. Thank you to all the patients who have given an extra sample of blood to help with antibody surveillance so far.

Urinary tract infections:

  • Trial of a new antibiotic for urinary tract infections in women. Please contact the research team for more information.

The RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre

This practice is one of over 600 practices in England contributing pseudonymised data for national research and surveillance.

These data enable continuous monitoring of infections and diseases in the community and is used in ethically approved research. The RCGP RSC is the main source of information for Public Health England (PHE) and helps with prediction and management of flu out-breaks and pandemics.

Providing pseudonymised data does not affect patients, their care or privacy, however if you no longer wish to allow your information to be used, please speak to your GP.

For further information please visit or contact:

Other active studies at Oak Tree and Pensilva:

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus: trial of a medication for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus: trial of a new diabetes treatment
  • Cardiovascular disease: two trials of a new cholesterol lowering medication.
  • Cardiovascular disease: a survey of the use of lipid modifying therapies in high risk patients.
  • Infectious disease: trial of a vaccine for ‘at risk’ people which may help prevent a potentially serious infection (C.difficile).
  • Vaginal thrush: trial of a new treatment for recurrent vaginal thrush.
  • COPD: trial using a beta-blocker medication to help prevent exacerbations of COPD.
  • COPD: study investigating the effectiveness of technology in the management of COPD.

Completed studies

  • Cardiovascular disease: a European wide survey of the prevention of heart disease in primary care.
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus: trial of a medication in protecting against the progression of kidney disease and heart failure.
  • Dermatology: trial of a new antimicrobial cream for impetigo
  • Cancer: study looking at improving the early diagnosis of bowel and lung cancer.
  • Exercise: study investigating the use of technology in improving adherence to an exercise plan.
  • Rheumatology: a diagnostic study evaluating a specific blood test for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Mental health: a study looking at one-to-one support for people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Further Information

For further information about these studies or if you would like to be involved in research please contact:

  • Kathryn Beck – Research Nurse/Coordinator
  • Dr Graham Toms – Principle Investigator
  • Dr Samuel Trethewey – Sub-Investigator
  • Gillian Besley – Research Assistant
  • Sorrel Shiel – Research Administrator

To find out about other national clinical research studies please visit This is a national database held by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which is the research arm of the NHS. For further information regarding how you can take part in research, please visit